How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Ellenwood Georgia
Selecting the ideal welding school near Ellenwood GA is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Ellenwood GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Ellenwood GA employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Ellenwood GA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Ellenwood GA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Ellenwood GA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Ellenwood GA contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Ellenwood GA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Ellenwood GA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ellenwood GA, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ellenwood GA?
Perhaps you live in the Ellenwood Georgia area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Ellenwood is an unincorporated community in Clayton, Henry, Rockdale, and DeKalb counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. The community is a southeast suburb of Atlanta and is located along Interstate 675 and GA state route 42.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Ellenwood GA area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School Ellenwood GA
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Ellenwood GA.
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